Innovation After Google?

Where will many Google employees be five years from now? How many will be running their own technology companies, and pursuing their own projects? How many will be investing in other companies, and helping to drive innovation?

Georges Harik was one of Google’s first 10 employees, the Director of Googlettes and a Distinguished Engineer at Google. He’s been involved in financially backing a number of startups, and is involved in a project by Pagebites, Inc., which may be poised to bring some interesting twists to online communications with

Under Georges Harik’s watch, the Googlettes worked upon efforts involving Gmail, Google Talk, Google Video, Picasa, Orkut, Google Groups and Google Mobile. He was also a co-developer of the technology behind AdSense and the Google Search Appliance.

He worked upon the first product plan for the AdWords Online system. A number of the Google patent filings I’ve written about here have his name on them as inventor.

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Erik Selberg Leaves Microsoft Live, Joins Amazon

Along with news of Microsoft’s Updated Live Search Engine, discussed at Microsoft’s Searchification Day, comes some other news from the camp.

One of the founders of the Microsoft Search Labs (a research and development group within the Windows Live Search team), Erik Selberg, is leaving Microsoft to join

With my last post on how closely Yahoo is treating categories, I wanted to make sure I pointed out this Microsoft patent application from Erik Selberg on categorization (I wrote about it in a post titled Microsoft Looks at Category Based Link Weights):

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Mark Pilgrim to Join Google

Technologist, author, blogger, and accessibility expert Mark Pilgrim announced yesterday that he will be joining Google.

One of my longtime favorite sites from Mark Pilgrim is Dive Into Accessibility (no longer available), which provides a 30 day, step-by-step approach to making web sites more accessible to visitors and to search engines. The site was written in 2002, and is a little dated, but still very much worth visiting if you own a web site. It uses fairly simple and plain language, and describes accessibility benefits that you can provide to users of your web site, with some very nice examples.

Other free online books and articles by Mark Pilgrim are a little more technical, and include Dive Into Greasemonkey, Dive Into Python, and a series of columns that he wrote at O’Reilly’s on RSS and XML.

Mark Pilgrim has also been involved in a number of free software initiatives, and if you’ve ever validated an RSS feed at, you’ve used one of the applications that he has been involved in building.

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Google Open Source and Open Standards

Some of Google’s past hires involve people who are pretty well known in the open source and open standards worlds.

Last week, Kevin Marks noted on his blog that he had recently become Begoogled, and is now a software engineer at Google. He was a principal engineer for Technorati, after working for Apple and the BBC. He is a founding member of Microformats and the Social Software Alliance.

Google is known for heralding open source software development, and using open source software. There’s a nice interview with Google’s open-source programs manager, Chris DiBona, from last December: Newsmaker: A look inside Google’s open-source kitchen

I thought it would be fun to find some of the other folks who have worked on open source or open standards projects before joining Google. By no means is this list complete. I suspect that I’m just scratching the surface.

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AOL Top AIM Developer Joins Google

Steve Bryant broke the news yesterday that Google has just hired AOL’s top instant messaging developer, Justin Uberti. (Hat tip to Barry Schwartz).

Steve tells us that Justin was involved in AOL’s Open AIM Initiative. He also notes that this hiring is interesting in light of a December agreement between AOL and Google to have their instant messaging programs able to communicate with each other.

Curious about some of the efforts that Justin Uberti worked upon while at America Online, I searched for some of the patents that he was involved in filing on behalf of the company. The patent applications he co-invented include integration of email with instant messaging, sharing folders and files across an IM system, providing secure messaging, and implementing a number of personalization features for IM systems. There may be others pending publication.

The following have been assigned to America Online unless otherwise noted.

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